June 27, 2019
Big Business Charitable Giving Not Likely to Grow Much in 2012

July 30, 2012 — Charitable giving by America’s biggest businesses rose slightly last year, having slowed down from the year before, and shows little sign of gaining in 2012, according to a recently completed national study.

Donations grew by 4% in 2011, according to the 115 companies that provided two years’ worth of data compiled by the Chronicle of Philanthropy, less than the 13% rise from 2009 to 2010, when companies saw a sharp rebound in profits after the recession.

More than 7 in 10 corporate leaders anticipate their philanthropy budgets will be roughly the same this year amid continued worries about the economy, the study found.

About 27% say they will give more and 2% will donate less, the Chronicle reported.

“While a handful of companies started new philanthropy projects this year, many are winnowing the causes they support in favor of bigger, higher-profile gifts to fewer organizations,” the Chronicle said.

“That’s in part because of a long-term trend of companies zeroing in on social issues that threaten their bottom lines, like people’s ill health, high transportation costs, or diminishing fresh water. They are also focusing on causes that help them tap into new markets, appeal to their customers, and use their employees’ skills.”

The study also found that:

Among other findings:
  • Thirteen companies donated more than $100-million in cash, compared with 11 in 2010. Wal-Mart gave the most cash ($342.4-million), followed by Goldman Sachs ($337.1-million).

  • Five companies increased their giving by more than 50%. Starbucks grew the most, with a nearly 197% rise, followed by CSX, which doubled its giving.

  • Donations of products are growing at a faster rate than cash. Overall corporate giving, when both cash and products are counted, rose by nearly 15% in 2011. Pfizer donated the most ($3.1-billion) when counting both cash and products, followed by Oracle ($2.3-billion)

  • Alcoa gave the biggest share of its profits in cash to charity (6.2%), followed by Merck & Company (4.2%). But most companies donated far less: The median was 1%.

  • Four companies in the survey lost money in 2010 but still contributed to charity in 2011: Bank of America, Caesars Entertainment, First Data Corporation, and Office Depot.
In addition, the study found that companies also look to do more with volunteering programs and find creative ways to encourage employees to get involved.

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